I finally did it. I replaced my six year old Apple G4 Dual One Ghz Quicksilver tower with a new “I can’t even keep track of specs anymore they’re so out of sight” Apple tower. I was originally going to get it back in June before I had to spend some money on dental work so it seems like it’s been a long time coming. The old computer served me well. I was still doing all my Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign work on it up until Friday so it’s a viable machine. But now I have the latest and the greatest. Well, not quite greatest. You can spend twice what I did on an Apple tower. Those things get crazy.

I’ve sung the praises of the Apple Migration Assistant program before. You hook up your old computer to your new one via a Firewire cable and it transfers all of your settings and documents over for you. When you turn on your new computer it looks just like the old one. And all your passwords are in place. That’s important. Instead of taking weeks to get back to normal it takes hours.

Things didn’t go so smoothly for me this time. My old computer didn’t want to play nice. It was one hard drive specifically. Y’see I cranked up the new computer and followed the Migration Assistant instructions. Connect the cable and turn on the old computer while holding down the “T” key. But when my old computer showed up in the Migration Assistant program my main hard drive wasn’t there. My secondary hard drive was but that doesn’t have all the settings I wanted. Why would one internal hard drive show up but not the other? No idea.

I decided to take the my main hard drive out of my old computer and put it in an external case. Maybe standing alone It would show up properly was my reasoning. I grabbed one of my external drives pulled it out of the case and put my main drive in there and plugged it into my new computer. The drive mounted and popped up on screen. I thought I was in business but when I ran Migration Assistant the drive still didn’t show up. I double clicked on the drive to open it up in the Finder but it froze the whole computer.

Keep in mind that this is the main hard drive that I have been using to run my old computer. I have had no problems with it recently so why is it doing this now? Who knows? It baffled me.

Next I decided to switch the physical positions on my main and secondary hard drives in my old computer. Maybe putting the first one second on the chain would work. I also had to remember to change some little jumper switches on the drives that indicate which is master and which is slave. I did that and started it up. At least I tried too. The old computer would start up and then shut itself down. I then changed the drives and switches back and it started right up. Huh? Computers are crazy.

At this point I decided that since my new computer could see my second internal hard drive I would boot up my old computer with the second drive and use Migration Assistant to move my settings from hard dive one onto hard drive two. Except I was foiled because Migration Assistant, on my old machine, couldn’t see hard drive one which was on the same machine. This was getting weird.

My next solution was to use a program called Carbon Copy to make a clone of my main hard drive and try to migrate from the copy. Problem was that I need a free external hard drive for that and mine had data on them that I didn’t want to mess with. But I do have two hard drives that I don’t use because they were giving me trouble. I figured what did I have to lose so I set one of them up to be made into a clone and went to bed.

The next morning I saw that the clone was made so I double clicked on the hard drive to check that the files were copied and it froze my old computer up. Great. I restarted and ran Disk Utility on the new clone hard drive. Three hours later it was still finding things wrong with the drive and there was no end in sight. Disk Utility usually takes half an hour at most to fix a drive so something was really freaky here. I cancelled disk utility and gave up on that drive. To the trash with it.

But just because I was curious I plugged the clone into my new computer. Lo and behold Migration Assistant saw it and started copying files over. I though that maybe I got lucky. I didn’t. Half way through the copying Migration Assistant said that the info couldn’t be read and cancelled out the transfer. Oh well.

I then ran DIsk Utility again on my main hard drive. I had done this already but I do it often when there is trouble. Disk Utility found some more stuff wrong and fixed them up. The new computer still refused to see the drive though. So a few little problems wasn’t the problem.

I was ready for my second external drive to be made into a clone. At least I know exactly what was wrong with that drive. It has some bad blocks. Whatever info was once there is now gone but the computer will work around those blocks now that it knows that they are there. Still I don’t trust it so it’s not a hard drive I rely on. I set up that drive to be made into a clone and left for the day. It takes about three hours to clone my main hard drive by the way.

When I came back that evening I went straight to the computer and checked out my new clone drive. It was there. I double clicked the icon and it opened without crashing anything. Yay! I then plugged it into the new machine which saw it with no problem. Migration assistant then started transferring things over as I held my breath and waited for a failure message. None came. Whew! Everything got transfered over. Nice. A happy ending.

Today I’m hooking up and testing out all of the equipment I had attached to my old computer that are now on my new one. I don’t expect many problems because my old computer was running the latest operating system as is the new one. I also have to do some work deleting stuff on the old computer before I get rid of it but that is for another time.